Kevin Thomas Jr. Lands Winged Ride

To transition to winged sprint cars

Kevin Thomas Jr. was released after six races with Blazin' Racin. (Speedway Shots photo)

INDIANAPOLIS — Kevin Thomas Jr. will drive the Blazin’ Racin’ Buffalo Wild Wings No. 82 winged sprint car owned by Todd and Susan LaHaise.

The Don Ott-powered Maxim prepared by team manager Greg McCormick will be running a mixture of 410 and 360 sprint car events.

The 25-year-old Alabama native was the winningest non-winged sprint car driver in the country last season with 13 victories and is thrilled to have the chance to make a full-time transition to winged cars.

“I’m beyond grateful that Todd and Susan are taking this chance on me and believe that I have the talent to succeed in a wing car,” Thomas said. “They had plenty of experienced drivers to choose from and when I got the call I was floored. I’ve worked really hard to get where I am and I’m blessed that Todd, along with Greg, see the potential we have as a team.”

Thomas enters his rookie season as a winged sprint car driver with only 15 races with a wing over his head.

“Having that versatility in a driver like Kevin is what makes our job fun. He’s shown the ability to cross over to winged cars quickly with very limited seat time. His positive and humble attitude is a huge confidence booster for us as preparations are made for the 2017 season,” said McCormick.

The No. 82 team will tackle more than 80 races and the team has put together a more aggressive schedule than in past years, competing primarily with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series, ASCS Lucas Oil Sprint Car Series and Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions.

The team will return to the prestigious Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway, where it was voted “Best Appearing Car” in 2016, while also qualifying for the $150,000-to-win feature with Zomer behind the wheel.

“Susan and I are excited to enter into our 25th year of sprint car racing with Kevin as our driver,” Todd LaHaise said. “We know Kevin’s passion and determination to compete against the best will transition him into a successful winged sprint car driver. We welcome Kevin and his wife Whitney to our Blazin’ Racin’ Family and look forward to a safe, fun and competitive season.”

The Blazin’ Racin’ team plans to kick off its season with the World of Outlaws at Lonestar Speedway in Kilgore, Texas, in March.

Thomas begins the season Tuesday at the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in the Amati Racing, Marion Underground Construction No. 66.